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  1. #1
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    Default Termination of wires in a fused panel under a screw

    This was a fused sub-panelIMG_1994.jpg IMG_1984.jpg
    used only for the Electric Dryer and 110 outlet for the washing machine in a 100 amp home.

    Not that I want to quote NEC in my reports, but for my own knowledge, is there a rule requiring wrapping or hooking the wire around the screw in a clockwise direction?

    Also, I do not like anything about this panel, my spidey senses are tingling looking at it. It was inspected by two other home inspectors and was not written up (Home sold three times in past year). It appears to me like a DIYer wired this and this homeowner is highly argumentative as to why other Inspectors did not find and write these issues up (innuendo for I am full of crap). I am being challenged from their "Electrician" who supposedly already looked over the entire home and is saying I do not know what I am talking about. Am I crazy here? I admit my reaction to fused panels was always to generally recommend replacement, but I guess I need specifics with this particular feisty Owner and his agent.

    One more thing, I also argued that the wires on this mast head are nearly contacting (less than 1/2") with the aluminum fascia cover which is wrapped over the wood board behind the gutter. the underside of the soffit was vinyl. I was told this too was acceptable?

    I am not an Electrician, but being challenged by one. I just wanted my reply to Agent/Buyer/Electrician to be a little more precise per NEC so they will agree to get another Electrician in there.
    Jerry? Anyone?

    Similar Threads:
    Last edited by chris vis; 06-19-2015 at 06:14 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Termination of wires in a fused panel under a screw

    The screw should only have one wire under the head. It was common to insert the wires straight under the screws.

    The PVC conduit is missing a locknut.

    The wiring for the washer cannot be protected by 30 amp fuses, 20 amp maximum.

    I wouldn't worry about the service conductors, but they could be deflected more to give more clearance.

    Looks like a pencil whipped inspection in the past.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Termination of wires in a fused panel under a screw

    As Jim said, there should only be one wire under each terminal screws.

    While inserting the wire straight in under the screw head is common practice, doing so is neither good practice nor acceptable practice (by the code) and can lead to loose terminations due to improper termination. There are some screw terminals which are designed and intended for this straight-in insertion technique - the ones I have seen will have two retainer lugs to the side to hold the wire under the screw head and the screw head will extend outward between the two retainer lugs, ensuring that the wire is properly held under the screw head.

    Yes, there is a requirement for wrapping the conductor around under the head, except for terminations designed for the straight in termination, and those are easy to recognize when you see one as it is quite difficult to get the wire wrapped around under the screw head (because it was not made for that). The code reference in the NEC is "110.3(B) Installation and Use. Listed equipment shall be installed and used in accordance with any instructions included in the listing or labeling."

    The installation instructions will show the proper termination of the wires wrapped around under the screw head with terminals like that.

    Additionally, 110.14(A) includes the following statement: "Connection by means of wire-binding screws or studs and nuts that have upturned lugs shall be permitted for 10 AWG or smaller conductors." .... and I don't see any upturned lugs on those terminals ... which means those terminal are not even approved for use as wire-binding terminations - that looks quite old, so it may have been manufactured before that requirement came into the code, and your photo shows excellent evidence as to why those upturned lugs came into the code many decades ago.

    Was there a dead front cover or was that missing? Were there any installation instructions, or were they missing too?

    Jim stated that the PVC conduit is missing a locknut - additionally, there is an open (unused but removed) knockout in the bottom of the enclosure (right side in the photo).

    Also note the bare ground wire which exits the enclosure through a hole drilled through the side and goes to a sheet metal screw inserted into the enclosure - not a proper termination, first because it goes outside the enclosure (no grounding terminal inside the enclosure) and second because sheet metal screws are not permitted for that use, the screw, once done correctly, would be a self-tapping screw.

    Jim said he wouldn't worry about the service conductors, but they could be deflected more to give more clearance - but you should include them in your report so they can be addressed. How high above the ground is the bottom of that drip loop - at least 10 feet?

    Quote Originally Posted by chris viscomi View Post
    I am being challenged from their "Electrician" who supposedly already looked over the entire home and is saying I do not know what I am talking about.
    Respond that the electrical contractor needs to write a letter describing what he is saying is acceptable, along with a photo of each item he is saying is acceptable, the letter being on his letterhead, sign the letter, present the letter to the Building Official for review, then have the Building Official stamp the letter with the AHJ approval stamp if the Building Official approves what the electrician is saying. YOU don't change your report or defer to the letter, but you and your client now have a copy of the letter for your files should anything ever come up and for when your client goes to sell and that is fuse box is still there being used (hopefully it will have been replaced by then).

    Except that I doubt the Building Official will stamp it as being approved.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Termination of wires in a fused panel under a screw

    No the dead front was missing completely, I had caught most of this, didn't have the pvc locknut, had the screw but not the rest, wasn't sure about the straight wire clamp.
    Thanks for all the input. Based on everything that needs to be done, I stated it would probably be as economical to update to a breaker box versus all of these repairs, especially since there was no room in this box for the washing machine outlet 20 amp line. Better to update, as these were the only fuses left in the house.

    You guys are great. I really appreciate the knowledge, explanations, support and quick responses to any question I have ever asked.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Termination of wires in a fused panel under a screw

    Quote Originally Posted by chris viscomi View Post
    Based on everything that needs to be done, I stated it would probably be as economical to update to a breaker box versus all of these repairs, ...
    Chris,

    Instead of stating to "update", I recommend stating it as you basically did state it: "Due to all the repairs ... blah, blah, blah ... the panel should be replaced."

    The replacement panel now becomes "part of the repair", but an "update".

    Let the agents argue over what is part of the repair and what part is updating, give your client as much leverage as possible for their side of the negotiation.

    Just a suggestion.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Termination of wires in a fused panel under a screw

    Although it does not apply to the safety switch in question, there a some terminals which are made to just put the straight conductor under the screw, BTW, Edison base fuses are only allowed in existing installations where there is no evidence of overfusing, otherwise type S are required.

    Replacing it seems to be the best solution.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Termination of wires in a fused panel under a screw

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Also note the bare ground wire which exits the enclosure through a hole drilled through the side and goes to a sheet metal screw inserted into the enclosure - not a proper termination, first because it goes outside the enclosure (no grounding terminal inside the enclosure) and second because sheet metal screws are not permitted for that use, the screw, once done correctly, would be a self-tapping screw.

    . . .
    Respond that the electrical contractor needs to . . . .

    Except that I doubt the Building Official will stamp it as being approved.
    It seems as though you were saying a self-tapping screw would be suitable for bonding. My understanding is that you need a screw with a suitably-shaped head with a fine-enough thread that it will make contact with the enclosure through two full turns of its thread. Self-tapping, machine screw, 250.8 allows either.

    As for what the electrical contractor needs to do, whom does he get to charge for this? And how is he or are you going to prevail on the building official to take the time to review this and stamp it for you? I don't know of a single jurisdiction any more in which the inspection department will send someone out to perform a transition inspection for a new owner or before someone applying for a permit takes over and performs new/additional work.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Termination of wires in a fused panel under a screw

    Quote Originally Posted by david shapiro View Post
    It seems as though you were saying a self-tapping screw would be suitable for bonding. My understanding is that you need a screw with a suitably-shaped head with a fine-enough thread that it will make contact with the enclosure through two full turns of its thread. Self-tapping, machine screw, 250.8 allows either.
    That's what a self-tapping screw is.

    And as I said, not a sheet metal screw.

    As for what the electrical contractor needs to do, whom does he get to charge for this? And how is he or are you going to prevail on the building official to take the time to review this and stamp it for you? I don't know of a single jurisdiction any more in which the inspection department will send someone out to perform a transition inspection for a new owner or before someone applying for a permit takes over and performs new/additional work.
    So you are saying the electrician won't be able to produce that letter?

    Go back and read what I wrote, I believe you will see that was my point.

    The home inspectors makes a reasonable request: If the electrical contractor says it is okay when the home inspector says it is not, and shows it in a photo, then simply request that the electrical contractor back up his/her claim that it is okay ... or the electrical contractor can walk away and produce nothing ... it is commonly called "put up or shut up".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Termination of wires in a fused panel under a screw

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post

    The home inspectors makes a reasonable request:

    In the jurisdictions I'm familiar with in Maryland, Virginia, and DC, it would not be reasonable.

    Do you know of jurisdictions where the AHJ has the time for what you are suggesting? See, failing that, if the interpretation of electrical data is a HI's word against that of a master electrician--or probably an electrical P.E.--I would be astounded if the HI would win in most instances.

    If the HI hires a second qualified subject expert who can testify that he disagrees with the first, now it's up to the lawyers.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Termination of wires in a fused panel under a screw

    Quote Originally Posted by david shapiro View Post
    In the jurisdictions I'm familiar with in Maryland, Virginia, and DC, it would not be reasonable.

    Do you know of jurisdictions where the AHJ has the time for what you are suggesting? See, failing that, if the interpretation of electrical data is a HI's word against that of a master electrician--or probably an electrical P.E.--I would be astounded if the HI would win in most instances.

    If the HI hires a second qualified subject expert who can testify that he disagrees with the first, now it's up to the lawyers.
    I think you missed the point. Ask the ELECTRICIAN, not the AHJ, to put his opinion in writing.
    If he is willing to back up his opinion with a written document then that is the end of it. The electrician has just assumed liability for his opinion; just like the home inspector did with his written report.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Termination of wires in a fused panel under a screw

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    I think you missed the point. Ask the ELECTRICIAN, not the AHJ, to put his opinion in writing.
    If he is willing to back up his opinion with a written document then that is the end of it. The electrician has just assumed liability for his opinion; just like the home inspector did with his written report.
    I actually asked for both as we know it is a code violation.

    The electrician accepting responsibility is only part of it - getting the electrician to talk to the AHJ may open the eyes of the electrician.

    And it is a "reasonable request" in any jurisdiction.

    If the jurisdiction refuses to do their job ... that is in the HI's favor.

    But ... it is a reasonable request to have the electrician provide AHJ backup for a known code violation.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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